In 1856 St. Patrick’s church was erected in Ferguson’s Falls on land donated by the Quinn family. It is one of the oldest Catholic missions in Ontario and two of its own members joined the priesthood: Father Michael Stafford, son of pioneer Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth McGarry entered the priesthood in 1858. Also Reverend Edmund Quinn, son of John Quinn and Anna Byrnes entered the priesthood in 1947.
Before St. Patrick’s was built, the local Roman Catholics had to travel to St. John’s Church in Perth which was a long, difficult journey by horse and buggy, particularly in the long, harsh winter months.
This photograph shows my brother Roger Stafford entering the grounds of the cemetery at St. Patrick’s yesterday, July 4th. Many of the early Roman Catholic pioneers are buried in this cemetery. The Staffords, the Richards, the Quinns, the McGarrys, McKittricks, Blairs, Carberrys, Kehoes,McCaffreys to name a few.
The old church is set in a beautiful location not far from the mighty Mississippi and is a lovely spot to visit and to reflect on a warm sunny day like yesterday. We remember those who came before us and stood on these very grounds and had their baptisms, weddings and funerals at this small church. It is well worth a visit for anyone with local connections to spend some time at this sacred spot in Ferguson’s Falls.